Monday, December 14, 2015

Grant Surrenders {Years Ago}

I can hardly consider it a good series of Years Ago stories if I don't drag up some really old pictures of myself.

As long as I'm embarrassing myself, though, I might as well share a picture of my husband too. (I'm assuming my parents have some better graduation pictures at their house and perhaps even some copies of my senior portraits, but this is all I could dig out of my closet tonight.)

You might be able to tell from the National Honor Society collar or the gold honor graduate cords that I was a bit of an academic nerd in High School.

Actually, saying "a bit" is an understatement. I can't even remember all the ones I competed in years ago -- Academic Decathlon, Math League, AIM-HI (a different math competition), Quiz Bowl, and a whole bunch of other competitions.

Despite my natural bent towards all sorts of academic pursuits, I did find one area of weakness. As a junior in High School, I realized that I had never studied anything at all about the Civil War. All of my American History classes in elementary and middle school had started with the Native Americans, the European Explorers, and then moved slowly on from there. We moved so slowly through the founding of our country that we never reached anything past the early 1800s. The next year, we'd start over and the very beginning and again never reach the Civil War. During my Junior year, we covered the Civil War in US History and I studied quite a bit outside of class for some of the various academic competitions.

It was a Civil War question that tripped me up towards the end of one big competition. I honestly can't remember which competition it was, but it was done spelling bee style. I walked up to the microphone and was asked a multiple part question.

"Name the date that marks the end of the Civil War, the general who surrendered, the general on the opposing army, and the location" (or something very similar to that).

I smiled because I knew that answer. After all of my fears about not knowing basic Civil War facts, I was confident. I took a deep breath and blurted out:
"General Ulysses S. Grant surrendered to General Robert E. Lee on April 9, 1865 at Appomattox Court House, Virginia."
Big sigh of relief.

Until the commentator asked me to repeat myself. I finished my sentence a second time and heard him say, "I'm sorry. That's incorrect."

Only then did I realize my mistake -- the North (led by Grant) did not surrender to the south to end the American Civil War.

It was my biggest embarrassment of that year.

This week is the seventh week in our Blogging Through the Alphabet challenge -- letter G. I'm looking forward to everyone's posts this week. Thanks for sticking with us during this busy holiday season!

Click the button below for this week's linky.

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  1. Could you not get them to reconsider by telling them you were dyslexic :-)

    1. Maybe I should've been quicker on my feet.

  2. visiting from blogging the alphabet... well.. all I can say is.. you know the answer now! :) memories eh? Some stick with us forever.



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